Scanning images on her iPhone, her face falls.
“What’s wrong, Mom?”
She swallows hard and looks up, eyes glassy.
“I just realized how the Haiti pictures seem so out-of-place on my phone. They’re sandwiched between my client’s million-dollar house and my granddaughters at the Arboretum.”
She hands the phone off to me and takes a long sip of her coffee.
I quickly scroll through the pictures. The juxtaposition is indeed startling.
This image …
... does not belong next to this one.
But then again, most people would think my mother never belonged in Haiti. It made sense for The Doctor. He was doing what he does best—doctoring—but what was The Designer doing there? That’s something she asked herself throughout the trip.
It’s so easy to believe that we have nothing to offer, isn’t it?
Yet for us Christ-followers, “a cup of cold water” is worthy of reward and “caring for widows and orphans” is true religion.
My mother has always had a heart for humanitarian mission work; she has accompanied The Doctor all over Central and South America, even moving our family to Guatemala for a year when I was a teen. A few years ago, she partnered with a “marketplace ministry” that rescued trafficked women and supplied them with a profitable trade; she ultimately traveled to Africa and Thailand in support of that effort. My point here is this: poverty in the developing world, while always sobering, was nothing new for my mother.
But I must admit, the raw emotion I saw when she handed me the phone that day, it had burst forth from a new spring of compassion—a spring that flooded her eyes and drowned the noise and excess to which she had returned.
“Mom, what makes this trip so different?” I finally ask. “Clearly it’s different. I’ve never seen you like this.”
She holds her coffee mug in both hands while gathering her thoughts. Then takes another sip.
“When we lived in Guatemala,” she lights up with the memory, “even the poorest of children could laugh and play, if encouraged.” Her eyes drop back to her hands. “It’s like some of these children have never seen or heard laughter.”
As she begins to recount stories from the trip, two things become clear: her burden for the people of Haiti and belief in Live Beyond’s mission. I can see her desire growing “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free.” (Isaiah 58:6)
Furthermore, my mother can’t help but be impressed with the operations side of Live Beyond. As a businesswoman, she quickly recognizes efficiency and resourceful strategy when she sees it.
“Over the years, I’ve known many mission efforts,” she explains, “and while most are motivated by pure hearts and good intentions, they aren’t always well executed. In contrast, Live Beyond is a wonderfully-run organization that is making a real impact.”
We all have something to offer, no matter how small.
Even Ellie, my five-year-old daughter, wants to help after seeing the pictures and hearing stories from her Papa Doc. She is giving two chickens to the children of Thomazeau, Haiti this Christmas. It’s her cup of cold water.
What will be yours?